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The U.S. Treasury signed sanctions against three hacking groups actively engaged in cyber operations meant to bring financial assets to the government of North Korea. The groups are Lazarus, Bluenoroff, and Andariel, well-known in the security industry for cyber operations aimed at cyberespionage, data theft, monetary reward, and data destruction. By signing the sanctions, the U.S. Treasury U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) puts a lock on all properties and financial assets owned by the three groups in the U.S. and prohibits all dealings involving these goods. The sanctions extend to "any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for any of the entities," could become the target of sanctions. All three groups operate at the command of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), which is North Korea’s primary intelligence bureau. Lazarus Group (a.k.a. Hidden Cobra), which is the larger of the three hacking entities and considered an umbrella for the others, was created in early 2007 and it is coordinated by the 110th Research Center, 3rd Bureau of the RGB; this bureau is charged with technical surveillance and it is the architect of North Korea's cyber operations. Infamous incidents attributed to Lazarus Group include the attack on Sony Pictures - known as Operation Blockbuster, back in 2014 and the WannaCry ransomware global epidemic in 2017. One of the most notable heists attempted by this group was against the Bangladesh Central Bank, which stood to lose about $1 billion, were it not for two mistakes from the hackers. One of them was a typo, the other misstep was choosing a recipient that had been flagged for evading U.S. sanctions against Iran. In total, Bluenoroff (APT38) hackers managed to steal $81 million from just four transfers out of a total of 35. The third hacker group associated with the North Korean government is called Andariel. Operating since at least 2015, the outfit is known to focus on foreign businesses, government agencies, entities in the defense industry, financial services infrastructure, and private corporations. Find this interesting and want to know more visit OUR FORUM.

 

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